Expat Holidays: Halloween in India

by Christoph Hodel / Nov 06, 2013 / 0 comments

My family and I are currently living in India, along with fourteen other students from St. Olaf College on a program called Global Term Abroad (my father is leading it this year). We’re staying at the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Bangalore.

Within the enclosed campus of the ECC, multiple families also live their lives, and our group has met some incredibly adorable kids. There are about twenty of them, and they are very eager to play with us whenever possible. They even taught us how to play cricket (a very popular sport in India). When Halloween came around, we decided to celebrate it with the kids. This, apparently, is a pretty big tradition among St. Olaf Global students when they visit the ECC every year.

We all met and decided that we would set up night games, face painting, trick-or-treating, and a haunted house. We broke off into committees, and I ended up being in charge of the haunted house along with Jenny Ortiz, a student. We had very limited resources, but tried to make the best of what we had. I have to say, it worked out very well!


Haunted house - a halloween in India


We started by donating all of our bed blankets to cover the windows, and then bought about six rolls of toilet paper to hang from the ceiling. The ECC has a synthesizer keyboard, so I found all the spooky sounds on it and set it up in a corner. The entire haunted house was contained in a classroom where lectures were usually held, so we had tables arranged in a type of maze fashion. Although decorations were scarce, we were able to find some festive lights at the super market, and hung those up around the room. The blackboard was used to write scary messages, and we even made buckets of spaghetti (brains!!) for the children to feel.


Halloween in India


Halloween in India


The curtains that covered the far wall were perfect for hiding people, so a couple people from other committees agreed to hide there and jump out during the active time. Towards the end, giant spider webs (string) would obstruct the path, making it necessary to crawl through the last few meters.


Finally, when the kids had finished their games, their faces had been painted, and the sun had set, we summoned the kids in groups of six at a time to our haunted house. Although I was worried it would not be very successful, it was brilliant! Screams sounded around the darkened room constantly, and unfortunately, some of the littler kids were a bit too spooked for their liking. Jenny would flick water into a fan to spray all over them, while I played the synthesizer on an organ setting. Other students jumped out from behind the curtains and snagged at the children’s feet from under the covered tables.


Halloween in India


It was such a success! After all the kids had gone through our house of horrors, we all went back to our rooms in the boarding center and showed the children (who were now decked out in face paint) how to trick or treat. I’m glad to have been able to carry on the tradition at the ECC.



Christoph Hodel is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program


All photos courtesy and copyright Christoph Hodel



A Study Abroad Program's Haunted House in India brings joy to local kids

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